Sorry for the wait. Enjoy.

There were no excuses; only reasons that counted for nothing because they could have been avoided.

Failing a test was not accepted in the Kido household. It was seen as the absolute worst, lowest place a person could be. And Shin was in that place now.

He was confined to his room; Jyou and Shuu were forbidden from visiting him, talking to him, looking at him, thinking about him. It was frustrating and created an atmosphere tenser than a stretched elastic band. Their father sat menacingly at the kitchen table, shuffling his way through the newspaper and huffing every one in a while, just to prove that he was still displeased and couldn't bear the thought of one of his children failing a test.

Shuu ushered Jyou into the bathroom discreetly sometime later, making sure that their father was distracted enough not to notice their absence.

"Want to tell Shin something?" he asked with a sly grin.

Jyou took the piece of paper and the crayon, not quite sure what they were doing, but wrote Hello anyways. Shuu folded the paper carefully, then with a twist of his wrist and a bit of pulling, managed to slide off the cover for the vent. He proceeded to slide the slip of paper through the other side of the vent, where it landed with a whisper on the floor of Shin's bedroom.

Moments later, the paper came back with a smiley face. And for the rest of the afternoon, the three boys passed notes back and forth, easing the tension in the house and learning that defiance was truly the most fun they could have.

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